UK TV sucks. SUCKS. Other than the occasional great game show (Golden Balls), or drama (Downton Abbey). I swear I’m not uber close-minded and rejecting the culture…but the two things that suck here. The TV and the food. Let’s just address how I get around TV thus far.
So to start with, I left with the complete series of Lost DVDs thanks to my brother. I have never seen Lost…and we’ve just finished the second season…and I kinda love it. They (both my brothers and my SIL) swear it’s the best show ever and so far…it’s pretty good. I also brought our DVD player…because it should be known UK DVDs don’t play on USA DVD players and vice versa. So we haven’t lost my extensive DVD collection that includes Shrek, How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days, and Big Daddy. But that can only get you so far. And actually we thought it wouldn’t get us anywhere when the DVD player caught fire and started smoking. Somehow with the proper adaptor it now works post fire…
Here’s what I find necessary to live with TV in the UK.
- VPN service
- Apple TV
- ITunes account
- Log in information for local cable (Comcast) and HBO and Netflix and…etc.
So the VPN can make the interwebs think you’re in America. This is necessary to watch American shows that play through a network’s app or the website. Like ABC, NBC, Bravo, Lifetime, Fox. With the VPN service- I use Hide My Ass but I’m not totally thrilled with it- and a computer or Ipad, you can watch this week’s episode of pretty much anything. With a cable log in, you can watch past week’s episodes or perhaps entire series/seasons if they’re available.
With apple TV…I turn on a USA VPN on the ipad, and play a show from it. I could watch it from any of the aforementioned networks apps or stream a season on Netflix. You need the VPN for Netflix because UK Netflix isn’t the same. So no Scandal on the UK Netflix guys! With that running and Apple TV on, I can air stream it to my real TV. There are two other options with Apple TV. If you don’t have apple devices to airstream, you can still use your regular computer and have it on VPN and plug it directly into the apple TV with an Ethernet cord. OR you can buy a special router that can route VPN. This costs about £100 that I don’t want to spend. Either of these options will give your Apple TV VPN so it can think you’re in the states for its apps like Netflix and Hulu (if you’re a Hulu person). So, we air stream off the ipad and that’s been working just dandy.
There is some frustration that not all apps will airstream properly (the volume goes through your TV but not the picture). My shitlist includes NBC and Bravo…but Lifetime and ABC are gold. So we haven’t tried sports through a site streaming a game, but I am pretty sure if we are ever awake for a sports broadcast, you can watch that too. Depending on the channel or broadcast, you might have to pay for a subscription.
For buying passes or one off subscriptions: you can buy a season of a show on ITunes pretty easily…this will play off your apple TV, no need to change your country (because you’re paying) and no need for airstream. Like you I actually have a naughty obsession with Real Housewives…and Real Housewives of New Jersey isn’t available on Bravo TV…so I bought a season pass on ITunes so I can see it. This might have to happen with various sports, channels, or teams. Like you can buy the NFL Game Day Pass on ITunes to watch every NFL game – live or pre-recorded. That’s a heftier investment than the $24.99 for reality show trash….I think NFL is like $150. E doesn’t care enough about the NFL for us to actually get it but…it’s an option.
I already know I won’t be awake for any Blackhawks games so I’m kinda at a point of not caring about that…maybe when IU basketball starts I’ll be more invested in figuring out more ways to watch sports. But with our Xfinity login, we can live stream ESPN, ESPN2, Fox sports, NBC Sports net, TBS, Big 10 Network (that’s right….Big 10 in these parts…get that SEC pride outta here)…so quite a bit of sports to watch if we’re ever awake for them. Definitely bowl games and some basketball should be possible. I think it’s harder to get the big, primetime, prime network games, but it seems that we can stream the Bears vs. Packers on Monday live from the NBC Sports Live….if we were awake. Which we won’t be…. So it is possible…if you’re committed and don’t need sleep. Anything is possible in the UK…you just have to figure out how, have lots of patience, and generally some cash.